A hiring manager’s guide to improving the candidate experience

By Justin Hillier, CEO and founder of Recruiter Insider


Interviews are never easy, we all get nervous and we all worry about how we are going to answer particular questions.


And once they are done, they are more of a relief than a feeling of success.


There is no doubt interviews are the most important part of the recruitment process that candidates fear the most. But they also have the most influence on the final outcome.


But what about the other side of the table? Those running and setting the tone of the interview itself, the hiring manager.


An interview is a two-way street. While for many it might feel like they are in an interrogation session, there is a responsibility of the hiring manager to ensure they are presenting the opportunity and business positively. It’s a sales pitch on both sides of the table.


While decisions on who to hire are a result of these interviews by the business, the candidate also is making a decision on whether they will accept the role based on their engagement and level of satisfaction on how the hiring manager themselves performed in the interview.

This year has certainly been challenging and the impact of the hiring manager on these interviews, how they perform, what information they share and how they engage has a clear impact on the offer even being accepted.

After these interviews, Recruiter Insider asks the candidate to review the hiring manager against a set of five specific questions, scoring these out of 100 (scores above 90 are considered positive based on over 38,000 reviews on Recruiter Insider).


Based on 2967 interviews between January-March the acceptance from offer after the candidate has reviewed the hiring manager clearly shows the greater the experience, the better conversion. No huge surprise, but good to know.




What has happened since COVID-19 came to town though is something we all need to be very mindful of.


Between the months of April to September, numbers were obviously lower, but the impact of the hiring manager has diminished.


Greater acceptance of job offers by candidates has increased, while the experience declined.

The greatest impact is when candidates are scoring the experience between 70-79, an average experience based on our data, yet this range saw an increase of 66 per cent to conversion to placement.


The level up bandwidth of 80-89 had a 53 per cent increase of conversion to placement.




These results are staggering and the data showed there were two key elements that hiring managers were struggling with the most.


​The company/team culture was explained and how I would fit in and​ t​he benefits of working for the business were described in detail.


Given what has happened over the past eight months, it’s not that surprising.


The previous messages that hiring managers ran with are very likely no longer true. This isn’t their fault, but an effort needs to be made to ensure the message is adapted to the new world we now live in.


The greater risk is that candidates no doubt have been accepting roles over the past eight months as they needed a job, but how long will they accept a culture or a misaligned message of what it means to work for the company?


Staff turnover is always a concern but missing the mark upfront by not reviewing your message and your new culture and benefits may just lead to an even greater turnover in the coming months.


Justin Hillier is an experienced entrepreneur with over 20 years’ business development, sales management and SaaS/digital experience. Justin has personally designed and project managed new platform builds, including personally designing and project managing the integration requirements with 3rd party platforms, utilising API’s, for his start-up business, Recruiter Insider.

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